News


AC 2017 - Creating Difference Makers

AC 2017 - Creating Difference Makers

4/8/2017
Meeting under the banner of “Creating Difference Makers,” lay and clergy will gather for the 2017 Iowa Annual Conference session.  The three-day event will be held at the Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.  The 174th yearly meeting will feature powerful preaching, inspiring singing, informative teaching sessions, vital reporting, and the reconnection of fellow United Methodists from across the State.   Bishop Laurie Haller will call the members of the annual conference to order on ...

Women at the Well celebrates 10th anniversary

Women at the Well celebrates 10th anniversary

4/5/2017
A large crowd of United Methodists gathered in Ames this past weekend to celebrate 10 years of vital ministry helping forgotten, abused and underprivileged women, Women at the Well. Women at the Well (WATW) is a church congregation within the walls of the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, east of Des Moines.   Click here to see an album of images from the anniversary worship celebration Women at the Well was first envisioned by Bishop Gregory Palmer after holding ...

Bishop invites pastors:

Bishop invites pastors: "take risks.”

4/4/2017
“Be willing to take some risks,” said Bishop Laurie Haller and “reach out to a hurting world with the love of Christ.” Her challenge was to pastors of some of Iowa’s largest churches, who gathered on March 30 at Altoona United Methodist Church. At the same time, she invited the nearly 40 clergy present to “protect your spirits, cultivate relationships with others, and understand the joys and trials of being in pastoral ministry.”   To view images from the day, please visit our Flickr gallery. ...

'Be involved in Christian service'

'Be involved in Christian service'

4/1/2017
“We’ve got to be about inviting people to be disciples of Jesus Christ,” said Joe Kelley, keynote speaker for the annual gathering of Iowa Conference United Methodist Men.  Kelley, a prayer advocate and men’s ministry specialist, spoke on Saturday, April 1, at Altoona United Methodist Church.   Click here to see an album of photos from the UMM meeting Norm Veldhuizen, current Iowa UMMen president, opened the day with devotions and, with Joe Riddle, singing some “old favorite” hymns.  Veldhuizen...

Teams work to better conference

Teams work to better conference

3/28/2017
By Robert Lyons* God has many tools at his disposal from inspirational pastors to dedicated congregants, but in the Iowa Conference, his tools are that of two very important committees.   These two committees are the Bishop’s Operational Team and the Bishop’s Appointive Cabinet and members of both serve at the behest of Bishop Laurie. The Operational Team, which was the brainchild of the Iowa Conference’s Design Task Force, is the youngest of the committees having only started in September of ...

Iowa Conf communicators garner awards

Iowa Conf communicators garner awards

3/24/2017
Iowa Conference communicators garner awards   The Communications Ministry Team of the Iowa Conference received  several awards at the 2017 gathering of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC).  Nods were given to electronic media and The Reporter during the event, held in New Orleans March 22-24.   Best in Class for digital publications was presented to Liz Winders and Dr. Art McClanahan for The Reporter.  It also received a first place certificate for the Division A, Category B...

Spring weather brings Spring storms: Tips to stay safe

Spring weather brings Spring storms: Tips to stay safe

3/21/2017
As United Methodists in Iowa are praying and mourning over the storm damage in Muscatine and Seymour on Monday, March 6, the Iowa Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Catie Newman said now is the time to start thinking about spring weather.   “Spring is coming and with spring, comes spring storms,” she said. “It’s a good reminder and a good time to start thinking about preparedness.”   Iowa has already had its first major round of spring storms in Eastern Iowa. Three tornadoes were ...

From backpacks to sleeping mats

From backpacks to sleeping mats

3/17/2017
by Roxanne Strike   Sometimes a little creativity can go a long way. The members of Calmar United Methodist Church, near Decorah in northeast Iowa, with the help of other church groups have banded together for the past several years to help their community. But when one community outreach program ended, they group thought of a new way to help those in need.   “(After the program ended) this left 20 to 25 people, who had formed an alliance of volunteerism, without a cause to gather,” said Pastor ...

Seymour UMC reaches out after tornado

Seymour UMC reaches out after tornado

3/14/2017
By Arthur McClanahan Seymour United Methodist Church is making a big difference in the southern Iowa community.  “They’ve been a part of the school system, sending volunteers in to read,” said Jamie Houser, the principal of the Seymour Community school.  “We’ve had a really good partnership with the United Methodist Church for several years.  It’s nice to have people in your community that work together to make sure that our kids are learning and having good experiences.” Click here to see an ...

Small church, big impact

Small church, big impact

3/14/2017
by Roxanne Strike Sometimes, it’s easy to feel forgotten. Small, rural churches in Iowa can sometimes feel like they’re on the brink of closure, forgotten by their communities. In the US, some communities even feel forgotten, stuck in time as the world flies past them. That feeling is sometimes what brings communities together.   Webster United Methodist Church in Eastern Iowa employs a less-than-full-time pastor. The rural church, though small, continues to be mighty and fights on for its ...

‘It’s about making a difference’

‘It’s about making a difference’

3/9/2017
by Arthur McClanahan   March 6 was an active weather night across Iowa.  A round of heavy thunderstorms and lightning rolled west to east across the state along with gusts of damaging wind.  Funnel clouds were observed well off the interstate.  Hail struck homes and cars.   Click here to see photos from the Wesley UMC sanctuary Shortly after 10 pm things changed drastically in Muscatine.  A tornado touched down, demolishing businesses, taking the roof off an apartment house, and lifting and ...

SLI continues to grow

SLI continues to grow

3/9/2017
As the Iowa Conference continues to work through the coaching tips of Spiritual Leadership Inc. (SLI), participants in the program are getting out to the districts to begin grassroots organizing.   “We have been learning about our ministries and where mission and ministry need to get realigned,” said Rev. Lanette Plambeck, Broadway UMC in Council Bluffs. “We have been learning, leading and loving together.”   Plambeck is part of the Bishop’s Operational Team. The Bishop’s Operational Team ...

Tornadoes damage Muscatine, Seymour

Tornadoes damage Muscatine, Seymour

3/7/2017
To the saints in the Iowa Annual Conference As you know, severe weather crossed the Midwest last night. As we are receiving storm reports, we want you to know that Wesley UMC in Muscatine suffered severe damage last night. The sanctuary roof was taken by the wind, and there is water everywhere in the building. A great sorrow is the fact that the largest and oldest organ in the United Methodist Church in Iowa is gone, submerged in water. The family life center across the street also has a hole on...

Celebrating 10 years with Women at the Well

Celebrating 10 years with Women at the Well

3/6/2017
Women at the Well became an official congregation on February 8, 2007, so they're celebrating TEN years of vital ministry with some special events on April 1-2, 2017 at Collegiate United Methodist Church & Wesley Foundation, 2622 Lincoln Way in Ames, Iowa. Please check out the options and join in as you’re able! Saturday, April 1, 2017: 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. The Crisis of Mass Incarceration Right Next Door:  Becoming Stations of Hope  A Right Next Door Workshop America now incarcerates more of its ...

Little Free Pantry brought to Iowa City

Little Free Pantry brought to Iowa City

3/6/2017
People around the state have seen the Little Free Libraries at homes and public spaces, allowing the free exchange of books. Recently, a young member of Iowa City’s First United Methodist Church is bringing another “Little Free” concept to the town: the Little Free Pantry.   Jack Ballard is currently a senior at Iowa City High School and a member of Boy Scouts. He took on the Little Free Pantry project to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts.   “The Little Free Pantry was my ...

Creston UMC grows congregation, ministries

Creston UMC grows congregation, ministries

3/3/2017
by Roxanne Strike Creston is a rural town located in the South Central District of the Iowa Conference. In churches of all denominations, rural churches can have trouble with growth, but the Creston First United Methodist Church experienced the opposite. In just a year, the church has had 4 baptisms, 17 new members, created new instrumental groups, hired a new choir director and nursery director and raised money for veterans.   “It’s hard to put into words the energy and passion people have,” ...

Here we come, Jalapa

Here we come, Jalapa

3/2/2017
By Beverly Nolte   Click here to see more images from the trip! Fourteen Iowans flew south of the border to the land of coffee, corn and tobacco—Nicaragua. From Bloomfield to Lake Park, Gray to Wilton, this United Methodist Volunteer in Mission team was laden with sewing machines, a variety of vegetable seeds, school supplies, a large replica of Noah's Ark, as well as work tools...all part of the luggage. Tucked in between Panama and Honduras, Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in ...

#AshesforAll—Ash Wednesday on the street

#AshesforAll—Ash Wednesday on the street

3/1/2017
On March 1, 2017, two Des Moines clergy were stationed at the corner of MLK Parkway and Cottage Grove offering ashes to celebrate Ash Wednesday to drivers stopped at the busy intersection. With great big smiles and a dish of ashes, Rev. Jennifer Hibben from thrive United Methodist Church and Rev. Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz from Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church walked between cars during the morning commute.   “Ashes: We R More Alike Than Different. #Ashesforall” read the cardboard sign ...

Storms touch down in Iowa, Midwest

Storms touch down in Iowa, Midwest

3/1/2017
Violent storms tore across the Midwest Tuesday, February 28, 2017.  During the afternoon and early evening storms, hail and tornados hit Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana Here in Iowa, Tornados were sighted near Wollcot, Princeton Dubuque and  McCausland.  A Tornado touched down near Clinton.  Oskaloosa area had heavy rain, winds, and hail twice yesterday.  And we have reports of Large Hail in Iowa City At this time we have no reports of damage or injuries from these storms. Please pray...

Taking Ash Wednesday to the streets

Taking Ash Wednesday to the streets

2/23/2017
Churches Find Ways to Bring Ash Wednesday Out from Behind the Church Doors -    On March 1, 2017, area churches, will station themselves across the city to celebrate Ash Wednesday by sharing ashes in unlikely places. People will be stationed everywhere from interstate off ramps, parking garages, coffee shops, hospitals, homeless shelters, buses and skywalks. Glitter ashes will also be available outside the Blazing Saddle. This experience provides the opportunity for people to experience Ash ...

Safe at Home Program

Safe at Home Program

2/20/2017
The Office of the Iowa Secretary of State, Paul D. Pate, has made the following information available to different church denominations across Iowa.  Safe at Home is an address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence and other violent crimes. It provides a designated address, mail forwarding and confidential absentee voting for participants. The program allows the participants to live an active life without having their actual address listed on public records. All Safe at ...

Unique location opens unique ministries

Unique location opens unique ministries

2/17/2017
Mary Cox, a volunteer from Marquisville United Methodist Church reads with Brooklyn Day, a Cornell Elementary School student in the Saydel School system.

Celebrating 10 years of Women at the Well

Celebrating 10 years of Women at the Well

2/16/2017
Every Thursday evening, a group of women gathers to raise their voices up in praise to the Lord at one of the more than 700 United Methodist churches in Iowa. The church is found in the most unlikely of places, though. It is located within the walls of the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW), Mitchellville, the only women’s prison in the state. Not only is the church thriving, but the women celebrated 10 years of Women at the Well recently.   The incarcerated women, district ...

'IRMS connects churches with resources'

'IRMS connects churches with resources'

2/15/2017
IRMS Marks 31 years of service   Iowa Religious Media Services, an ecumenical resource cooperative, marked 31 yeas of service to communities of faith across Iowa during its annual meeting.  “Connecting the Dots” was the theme of the event held at the Iowa Conference Center on February 15.   Click to see an album of images from the IRMS gathering Bishop Laurie Haller was among the denominational leaders who signed the covenant of support for IRMS, which provides a “comprehensive, ecumenical ...

Change a Child's Story in Five Minutes (or Less)

Change a Child's Story in Five Minutes (or Less)

2/15/2017
Is your congregation looking for a way to generate some interest in Change a Child’s Story?  Panora UMC received a $500 donation from the Panora Lion’s Club to purchase children’s books. Pastor Bev Marshall-Goodell decided not to spend any of the Lion’s Club donation until the congregation contributed at least another $500. On Sunday, January 22, Pastor Bev reminded the congregation that Jesus was a reader when she preached on the story of Jesus reading from the scroll Isaiah (Luke 4:14-21).  ...

River of Life—five years in

River of Life—five years in

2/9/2017
Five years ago, Pastor Craig Ferguson was commissioned with starting a new church in Johnston. Through New Hope United Methodist Church, Johnston River of Life was formed. As Ferguson and members of the faith community look back on the past five years, one thing is abundantly clear: Johnston River of Life is truly living out its mission of “Christ in Community.” “It’s been five years, and we have had a lot to celebrate,” said Ferguson. “The ways we’ve integrated in the community has been really...

Hopkins Grove UMC has history of perseverance

Hopkins Grove UMC has history of perseverance

2/8/2017
Hopkins Grove United Methodist Church is a small Iowa church, tucked away in rural Madrid. It sits off the beaten path, but drive by it and there’s no mistaking those bright red doors and small rural cemetery. Despite its rural location, Hopkins Grove has a long history of helping its community and perseverance through times of hardship and plenty.   “It’s got a rich history with it's ups and downs,” said Pastor Craig Ferguson. “The church has given all sorts of things that are community ...

The World is Our Parish: Helping Others Through Service

The World is Our Parish: Helping Others Through Service

2/6/2017
The Iowa Conference Nominations Committee is encouraging local districts to begin submitting names for conference committee nominations. According to Nominations Co-Chair Erica   “We take nominations all year, but it’s best to do it late winter, early spring,” said Erica Stueve, co-chair of the Nominations Committee.   Stueve serves with co-chair Rev. Fred Lewis, Nominations Committee executive secretary Barb Oakland and representatives from each of the Iowa Conference Districts. The Nominations...

Change a Child's Story Reports from churches

Change a Child's Story Reports from churches

2/3/2017
Delhi United Methodist Church The "Change A Child's Story" literacy project had a good year. It has been well received by the community. We began the project back in November 2015 when we accepted the United Methodist Conference's challenge to "give books and give time" to children to promote literacy, specifically to underprivileged children. Our vision with our literacy project was to get books into the hands of children in our community as well as spend time reading to them. Our program is ...

Legislative Advocacy Day Feb. 7

Legislative Advocacy Day Feb. 7

2/3/2017
Legislative advocacy has long been a part of the heritage of United Methodists in Iowa. One Tuesday, Feb. 7, that tradition will continue with a Legislative Advocacy Day at Wesley United Methodist Church, 800 E. 12th St., Des Moines. “We will be meeting the whole day, and we hope many people will join us as we begin to look at key issues as Iowans and United Methodists,” said Rev. Brian Carter, team leader of the Legislative Advocacy Team. The Advocacy Day event will take place from 9 am to ...

Lyons lives out service above self

Lyons lives out service above self

2/2/2017
The Iowa Annual Conference would like to welcome Simpson College student Robert Lyons to the Communications Team as its new intern. Lyons is currently in his second semester of his senior year at the college where he is double majoring in political science and public relations.   Lyons has a long history of activism at both Simpson and during his time as a high school student in Denison, particularly with Rotary International. While in high school, he started an Interact Club. Interact Club is ...

Wilton UMC continues mission in the new year

Wilton UMC continues mission in the new year

2/2/2017
The Wilton United Methodist Church has continued its mission-minded living into 2017. At the end of Advent season, the church raised more than $7,000 to donate to purchasing water pumps and pump maintenance training. This year, 24 people affiliated with the church volunteered at Sager Brown UMCOR Depot in Baldwin, La., leaving Iowa Jan. 21 and returning Jan. 28. “We have a very committed, mission-oriented church,” Lanette Morgan, team leader for the mission trip, said about the large group. “We...

Be a Diakonos or a Youth Delegate at AC2017

Be a Diakonos or a Youth Delegate at AC2017

2/1/2017
Greetings Iowa United Methodist Youth and the people who love and support them!  Have you ever wanted to be a part of something bigger than the local church? Have you ever wanted to serve your church brothers and sisters in Christ? We have two opportunities for you!  The first is called the Diakonos (Greek for servant) Leadership Development program! This is a time for 32 youth from around the state to help with the Iowa Annual Conference. You will be running messages, helping with worshiping, ...

Thank you from the Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

Thank you from the Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities

2/1/2017
by Pastor Leila Blackburn, Consultant to the Commission   The Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities would like to thank the churches that work to make their facilities and programs accessible to persons with disabilities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the churches that provide what is needed so those with special needs can join in church activities. The Conference Commission on Ministry with Persons with Disabilities also thanks the many churches ...

'Everyone has a story'- I'm here to tell it

'Everyone has a story'- I'm here to tell it

1/31/2017
The Iowa Conference is home to 780 congregations, 170,000 members, and countless stories of all types of ministry. Roxanne Strike is here to tell those stories.   Roxanne joined the Iowa Conference’s Communications Team as the features writer and social media strategist late in 2016 and has been an invaluable team member ever since. While she’s relatively new to the Iowa Conference’s Communications Team, she’s anything but new to the United Methodist Church.   Click here to listen to the ...

Mission minded church continues fundraising tradition

Mission minded church continues fundraising tradition

1/30/2017
The United Methodist Church in Wilton, a small town 13 miles north of Muscatine, has a longstanding tradition of fundraising and mission work. The members of the Wilton church have raised money for mission trips and mission work for several decades. This past Advent season, the members once again kept the tradition going.   “The United Methodist Church of Wilton is very passionate about mission work and also very generous in their financial giving,” said Pastor Mike Agnew. “They have been a ...

Transforming the leadership of the Conference

Transforming the leadership of the Conference

1/30/2017
by Robert Lyons Beginning a little over a year ago, the Iowa Conference entered into a transformative and collaborative partnership with Spiritual Leadership Inc. (SLI).   SLI is a coaching organization dedicated to educating, developing, and empowering religious leaders. One of the organization’s founders, Greg Survant, works directly with the Iowa Conference. According to Survant, the organization grew to fit a natural, unfulfilled need in the ministry.   “Some 16 years ago, a couple of us ...

Combined Confirmation Class Stronger Together

Combined Confirmation Class Stronger Together

1/25/2017
As Christians across the globe close out the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, three confirmation groups in north Iowa put unity into practice. Don Preston, pastor of Bolan, Trinity and Manly, Bethel churches, Rhoda Preston, pastor of St. Ansgar and Little Cedar churches, and Rob Lanphere of Lake Mills, Ansbury and Northwood churches combined their smaller confirmation classes once a month into larger ecumenical class.   Each group is its own stand alone group - Rob’s group has four students, ...

Women at the Well connect with law enforcement

Women at the Well connect with law enforcement

1/24/2017
by Roxanne Strike This past Christmas, Pastor Lee Schott saw the most unlikely of friends: incarcerated women and law enforcement.   Schott has been the pastor the Women at the Well for the past five and a half years. Women at the Well is the only church in the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville, east of Des Moines. Every Christmas, the incarcerated women make and send Christmas cards to different groups and organizations. The last few years, the cards were sent to domestic violence shelters....

"It's always been family"

1/23/2017
by Robert Lyons* On Jan. 6, Cynthia Davis walked through the office doors of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church for the final time as an employee.   Almost 37 years prior, in January of 1980, Davis first began working with the Iowa Conference. Her employment was, for the most part, uninterrupted (except for a five-year “sabbatical” in the early 90s), which led to a fruitful 31 years with the Iowa Conference.   Over the course of 31 years as a receptionist, Davis worked at three...

Bradford appointed to NE District for 7th year

Bradford appointed to NE District for 7th year

1/19/2017
The Northeast District of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church will see a familiar face in its district office this year. District Superintendent Jackie Bradford was recently reappointed to her position for a seventh year.   “It’s quite an honor to be able to continue for a seventh year,” said Bradford. “There is a continuity to my leadership will provide, so there will be a smoother transition (for the next superintendent).”   Typically, district superintendents serve for six ...

Still serving at 100 years old!

Still serving at 100 years old!

1/18/2017
by Roxanne Strike Alice Walters has seen more than most in her life. That is especially true of her church in Jefferson, a small town 45 minutes east of Ames. She’s seen members come and go, building renovations and technology bring the church into the 21st century. For her, church is her Jefferson family and she wants to support that family as it supports her.   Walters, even at 100 years old, volunteers at FUMC every morning Monday through Friday.   “Alice is wonderful because she comes ...

A Prayer for Dr. King Day from Bishop Laurie

A Prayer for Dr. King Day from Bishop Laurie

1/15/2017
Most gracious and compassionate God, on this day we remember your beloved servant, Martin Luther King Jr. At the heart of Dr. King’s life was his hope that our world would become the Beloved Community, which for him was nothing more than your reign on this earth where all people share equally in its welfare.   As early as 1956, your beloved servant Martin spoke of the Beloved Community as the end goal of nonviolent boycotts. Following the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court decision ...

RACE: The POWER of an Illusion

RACE: The POWER of an Illusion

1/5/2017
RACE:  The POWER of an ILLUSION RACIAL EQUITY AWARENESS LEARNING EXCHANGES       WHY Jesus calls us to love God and love neighbor. Racial justice is an ongoing focus of United Methodist Women mission work. We are called to live out the Charter for Racial Justice in our communities. Racial disproportionality and disparity occur in Iowa. WHAT       RACE: The POWER of an ILLUSION (RPI) is a one-day guided educational experience that brings people from various backgrounds together to begin “...

A Hope for Peace

A Hope for Peace

12/22/2016
By Dr. Arthur McClanahan Christmas is an extraordinary time.  A tide of emotions sweeps over us.  The pace all around us is frenetic.  The sights and sounds and smells have a way of transporting us into a time warp, maybe even like the famous “ghost of Christmas past.” It’s a landmark moment…every year!   It would be easy to get caught in the place of “tisk-tisking” the early big box store displays of giant inflatable Santas, snowmen, Christmas Disney characters on planes with real moving ...

Calvary UMC living Nativity reflects true meaning of Christmas

Calvary UMC living Nativity reflects true meaning of Christmas

12/22/2016
By Roxanne Strike Since St. Francis of Assisi first displayed a Nativity scene, or crèche, in 1223, these depictions of the Christmas story have been a popular part of the Advent season across the world. United Methodist churches in Iowa have gladly been a part of that tradition for years, often making it an annual tradition.   Calvary United Methodist Church in Ames has hosted it annual living Nativity scene for more than a decade, said church member Dennis Toft, who has been involved with the...

What Christmas means to me

What Christmas means to me

12/22/2016
By Bishop Laurie Haller   A few years ago, when I was preaching at four Christmas Eve worship services, I finally gave voice to the dis-ease I feel every December. When we sang It Came Upon the Midnight Clear right before the sermon, the tears started to flow. “And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low; who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow; look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the ...

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.”

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed.”

12/19/2016
“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.  The Lord is  a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”  —Psalm 9: 7-9             The words of Psalms are often inspirational. This is a passage that inspires the work of Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), a ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. This Psalm reminds us that justice is a ...

Rev. Bradford reappointed NE Superintendent

Rev. Bradford reappointed NE Superintendent

12/19/2016
"I would like you to know that I will be reappointing Jackie Bradford for a seventh year to the Northeast District. Jackie’s broad experience and outstanding leadership skills as current dean of the appointive cabinet have proven to be invaluable as I have begun my ministry as Iowa’s new episcopal leader."  "In addition, the district superintendents have been working for a year with our coaches at SLI (Spiritual Leadership, Inc.) to more effectively align our district resources and staff with ...

Spreading Hope and Encouragement

Spreading Hope and Encouragement

12/18/2016
Protesters who have been standing strong against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota for months were rewarded with good news on Sunday, December 4, when it was announced that the Army Corps of Engineers would re-route the pipeline so that it doesn’t pass under Lake Oahe. Many people across the country have been standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during this long fight (which isn’t likely to be over, with a new administration coming in soon), and indeed on that same day in Des ...

"How God's kingdom is supposed to be"

12/16/2016
By Arthur McClanahan "I've been waiting for this day ever since the first day I walked into this church," said Wendy Vazquez, a member of the new Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church. "I was dreaming of this day ever since then, and I'm so thrilled that it got here!" The historic Trinity United Methodist Church and Las Americas Comunidad de Fe formally voted to become one during a worship service on Sunday, December 11, 2016. Bishop Laurie Haller, Central District Superintendent Rev. ...

Embracing differences and asking

Embracing differences and asking "why" to revitalize the church

12/15/2016
At the recent Route 122 held at the Iowa Conference headquarters in Des Moines, participants learned from each others’ experiences about revitalizing churches to continue the mission of the United Methodist Church. One way to do this is to ask local churches, “Why does it exist as a church, to begin with?”   That is the question Rev. Beth Crissman, district superintendent of the Western North Carolina Conference, and the Rev. Dr. Nancy B.Rankin, superintendent of the Northern Piedmont District ...

Iowa Conference Finance Team welcomes Tim Horsch

Iowa Conference Finance Team welcomes Tim Horsch

12/15/2016
The Iowa Annual Conference welcomed a new member to its Finance staff recently. Tim Horsch began work at the headquarters in Des Moines on Wednesday, Dec. 7, as assistant treasurer/controller. “Tim brings a wide range of experience and skills in the accounting and administrative arena that I believe will be beneficial to not only our department but to the whole Iowa Annual Conference,” said Margaret Biggs, treasurer/director of Administrative Services. Horsch will be involved with any ...

Ingathering: Connecting at home and overseas

Ingathering: Connecting at home and overseas

12/14/2016
Click here to listen to the audio podcast of the conversation with five members of the Ingathering Team who spoke with Dr. Art McClanahan about the 2016 mission experience. This year’s 37th Annual Thanksgiving Ingathering took place, Saturday, Nov. 5, helping raise over $980,000 in in-kind and other gifts. The Ingathering continues to bring people together across Iowa Conference districts, state and national lines.   “Sometimes you don’t feel connected until you go to these kinds of events and ...

Route to Transformation

Route to Transformation

12/14/2016
Route 122 offers from-the-field experiences By Roxanne Strike Click here to listen to the audio podcast of the conversation with Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson and Dr. Art McClanahan. The Rev. Dr. Jaye Johnson, Field Outreach Minister for the South Central District of the Iowa Conference, knows the best experts are usually those who are in the field every day. That is the key difference between Route 122 and other conferences held by the United Methodist Church. “This particular conference is different ...

Social media tips for the new year and beyond

Social media tips for the new year and beyond

12/13/2016
The year is coming to a close and people around the world are thinking about their 2017 resolutions. Churches can also make a new year’s resolutions, whether it’s new community outreach opportunities, growing a congregation or meeting apportionments. Whatever your church’s decision, social media can help enhance these activities.   Social media helps connect people, businesses, and organizations quickly and informally. News can immediately be released, groups with similar interests can reach out...

Loving, Learning, Leading with SLI

Loving, Learning, Leading with SLI

12/9/2016
Loving, Learning, Leading with SLI By Roxanne Strike*   Conference leaders are starting to see the impact from their Spiritual Leadership Incorporated (SLI) coaching as they come closer to the one-year anniversary of SLI’s implementation in the Iowa Conference.   “It has been a fruitful experience in the sense we have been given the opportunity to be a community,” said the Rev. Dr. Lilian Gallo Seagren, district superintendent for the Southeast District. “A community that is loving together, ...

Commission on a Way Forward begins work

Commission on a Way Forward begins work

12/7/2016
Dear Friends in Christ, It is Advent, the season of expectation, preparation, and new birth. This Advent season seems more poignant this year than in years past in the midst of beginning the work with the Commission on a Way Forward. The church is in a high state of expectation, similar to the time of John the Baptist when expectant people flocked to the Jordan for John’s message of repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sin (Matthew 3). Expectant people experienced in the strange and ...

#HerTruth

#HerTruth

11/30/2016
The North Alabama Commission on the Status and Role of Women developed a video called #HerTruth where clergywomen's stories of the struggles they've faced in ministry are read by clergymen. The North Alabama COSROW encourages congregations to watch the video together using the provided discussion guide for fruitful conversations. Clergywomen are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the hashtag #HerTruth.  Watch the video and find the discussion guides here. 

Steeplecom connects churches and wireless carriers

Steeplecom connects churches and wireless carriers

11/30/2016
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist Church continues to offer opportunities to enhance ministries of The United Methodist Church. GCFA connects with and vets reputable organizations, businesses, and corporations that not only provide discounts and cost savings, but that also generate non-traditional sources of revenues to positively impact the ministry of our local churches and affiliated United Methodist organizations. In November, GCFA entered into ...

CORR's Banquet with the Bishop

CORR's Banquet with the Bishop

11/29/2016
“We’re so blessed, this group, the Commission on Religion and Race, to have our bishop with us tonight,” said Pastor Dan Fernandez recently at CORR’s “Banquet with the Bishop” event, where the group got to spend some time with the new bishop of the Iowa Conference, Bishop Laurie Haller. Pastor Fernandez was impressed by what she had to say about the need for the church to be inclusive of all people, and he is looking forward to working “hand-in-hand” with her in ministry. This is especially ...

JFON's December Newsletter

11/28/2016
Click here to read Justice for Our Neighbor's December newsletter.

JFON congratulates employees for BIA accreditations

11/21/2016
   Justice for Our Neighbors, a standing committee of the Iowa Annual Conference’s Board of Global Ministries, congratulates Laura Mendoza and Grisell Herrera, JFON employees, for obtaining their accreditation in August, 2016, with the Board of Immigration Appeals.  Because Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals, it is allowed to supervise accredited representatives like Ms. Mendoza and Ms. Herrera. Ms. Herrera has been the Office Manager with JFON since...

To Congress: Introduce, pass the DREAM Act

To Congress: Introduce, pass the DREAM Act

11/17/2016
Brynne Howard, Des Moines, Letter to the Editor of The Des Moines Register In the four years since President Barack Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), immigration attorneys like me have helped hundreds of thousands of DREAMers throughout the country apply for the program. Every time I met with an applicant for the first time, we talked about what might happen once Obama left office. I warned that the program was temporary, that a new president could take it away and ...

UM Student Day Nov. 27

UM Student Day Nov. 27

11/17/2016
Across the country, the people of The United Methodist Church are serving the people God loves in Jesus’ name. We’re doing it at home, but so often we’d like to do more. We want to serve those in other places who are suffering. We want to offer spiritual words of hope and life. And we want to be well-equipped to do both! But the reality for most of us is that our responsibilities—home, family, work—don’t allow us to engage with every need we’d like to meet. Right now there are UMC young ...

Iowans file complaint against Bishop Trimble

Iowans file complaint against Bishop Trimble

11/16/2016
(This story was updated on November 17 with the addition of a quote from Bishop Trimble.) Seventeen lay and clergypersons from the Iowa Conference have filed a formal complaint against Bishop Julius C. Trimble citing his “disobedience to the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church” and an unwillingness to do the work of ministry entailed by a bishop.”  It arises from the way an earlier complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel was handled by the then Iowa Area episcopal leader.   In ...

Bishop's letters about U.S. Presidential election

Bishop's letters about U.S. Presidential election

11/10/2016
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, of the United Methodist Church in Germany, and Bishop Bruce Ough, of the Minnesota-Dakotas area, have each written letters about the recent U.S. presidential election.  Wenner, a former president of the Council of Bishops sent her letter to the current to Ough, the current Council president, Bishop Marcus Matthews, Executive Secretary of the Council, and the entire Council. Dear Bishop Ough, dear Bishop Matthews, dear colleague bishops:  Grace and Peace in Jesus' ...

In Mission Together: A 50/50 Partnership

In Mission Together: A 50/50 Partnership

11/10/2016
​More information about In Mission Together - click here. Listen to the conversation with Judy Marnin - click here. “In Mission Together (IMT) is being instead of doing. We create relationships. We have person-to-person interactions rather than just going and doing something like building a wall or painting a church,” says Judy Marnin. “It delves more into creating partnerships rather than finding out what people need and just giving it to them.” IMT is a global partnership network made ...

Front*piece - Give Thanks in Every Situation

11/8/2016
“Come, ye thankful people, come.” That’s what we sang as we walked from Mr. Morrissey’s 6th grade classroom to the gym at the Stratford Avenue School. We were carrying the cans of corn and peas and green beans and cranberry sauce.  The front of the gym became an irregular mound of what each of us had brought from home, from the bags from A & P and Gristede’s grocery stores, and from cupboard shelves. “Raise the song of harvest home” we most certainly did as we made our way to our designated ...

Iowans serve on General and NCJ Boards

Iowans serve on General and NCJ Boards

11/7/2016
Ten Iowa United Methodists are serving on commissions for denominational agencies and north central jurisdictional groups for 2016-2020.  Many were among the persons – lay and clergy, selected by the 2015 Annual Conference session to represent the Conference at the recent General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Denominational representation Lindsay Drake, Director of Small Group Ministries at Ankeny UMC in Ankeny, Iowa and Chairperson for the Iowa Conference Board of Discipleship in the Iowa ...

Northwest District works together at the Cherokee Ingathering

Northwest District works together at the Cherokee Ingathering

11/7/2016
Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering. Several volunteers of all ages woke early on a Saturday to help package donations brought from about 100 churches across Northwest Iowa. School Kits, Flood Buckets, Layette Kits and more were assembled and loaded onto a truck for transportation to a depot in Louisiana. “We have the Iowa Nigeria Partnership truck and UMCOR that we load, and it all goes down to a big depot in Louisiana,” said Veronica Timmerman, who has been ...

Ingathering shows how much people care

Ingathering shows how much people care

11/6/2016
Iowa United Methodists are generous. They care.   For the 37th consecutive year a heart for mission and love for others has been evident through Iowa Conference’s Thanksgiving Ingathering.  Kits designated for UMCOR and the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership, cleaning buckets, cash offerings, quilts, and “country store” items poured into the five sites - Cedar Falls, Cherokee, Greenfield, Mt. Pleasant and Webster City. Click here to see a photo album from the 2016 Thanksgiving Ingathering. Thanksgiving ...

John Rothlisberger named to National JFON Board of Directors

John Rothlisberger named to National JFON Board of Directors

10/31/2016
John Rothlisberger, Fredericksburg United Methodist Church, has been invited to serve on the board of directors of National Justice for Our Neighbors.  John is the first Iowan to serve on this board in the 17 years that the Iowa Annual Conference has been a site for Justice for Our Neighbors. Since UMCOR’s founding in 1940, refugee ministry has been at the heart of its work, guided by Christian values of hospitality to the stranger. Justice for Our Neighbors was orginally started by UMCOR, ...

Resolutions now being received

Resolutions now being received

10/31/2016
The Annual Conference Resolutions Committee is now accepting Resolutions for consideration at the 2017 Annual Conference Session.  The deadline for submission is December 1, 2016. Click here for the  Procedures for  Submitting Resolutions instructions Click here for the Resolution proposal form

‘Quite a journey from God’

‘Quite a journey from God’

10/28/2016
Calvary UMC welcomes a new era   “Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of Love” echoed through the sanctuary of Calvary United Methodist Church as the Arnolds Park congregation consecrated its new building.  The celebration for the community whose mission is “sharing God’s love with all” was the culmination a nearly eight-year journey for a community that traces its roots back to 1857.   “Today we celebrate the completion of our church building,” members of the team said, and in ...

Central District welcomes ministry team

Central District welcomes ministry team

10/24/2016
Divinity and Diversity: A Season of Change   The Central District welcomed its Ministry Team in a service of Celebration on Sunday, October 16.  Gathering under the theme “Divinity and Diversity: A Season of Change,” laity, clergy, a Conference Superintendent and Bishop led nearly one hundred people affirming the leadership and supporting a mutual ministry with Rev. Dr. Heecheon Jeon – Superintendent, Naomi Sea Young Wittstruck – Field Outreach Ministry, and Wendy Lubkeman – District ...

Fall 2016 Builder's Call

Fall 2016 Builder's Call

10/24/2016
Project Vision— Growing with Grace: Growing Our Faith, Growing Our Vision, Growing Our Community.

Fall retired clergy and spouses gathering

Fall retired clergy and spouses gathering

10/20/2016
Click here to watch the video of the Fall Retirees Gathering. Click here to see images from the day. "Wasting Time with Jesus" was the title of the message from Bishop Laurie Haller to the full room of retired clergy and spouses who gathered for the annual Fall Gathering at New Hope United Methodist Church in Des Moines on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.   On a picture perfect Fall morning retirees came to catch up on life, renew friendships and meet their new Episcopal leader, Bishop Laurie Haller....

UMW Annual Meeting welcomes, studies, and looks to future

UMW Annual Meeting welcomes, studies, and looks to future

10/12/2016
United Methodist Women of the Iowa Conference  had their annual meeting on Saturday, October 8, 2016.  Held at First UMC, Decorah under the banner of “A Fresh Wind Blowing – Come Soar with Us,” women from across the conference welcomed Bishop Laurie Haller, met for breakout groups, conducted the business of an annual meeting, and endorsed their leaders for the coming year.   Car parkers, hot coffee and treats, and greeters were just a part of the hospitality offered by men and women of First UMC...

Change a Child's Story October Update

Change a Child's Story October Update

10/11/2016
By now every church in the state should have received a folder full of information to get their church on board with the Poverty to Opportunity Initiative known as Change a Child’s Story. If your church has not received the mailing please contact Patty at patty.link@iaumc.org   Change a Child’s Story has been busy the last few months trying to get the word out to congregations who may not have started Change a Child’s Story in their congregation. There are so many great things happening around ...

Quick UMCOR response in Haiti

Quick UMCOR response in Haiti

10/8/2016
By Elliott Wright* Atlanta, Georgia, October 7, 2016 — The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) acted quickly in response to the destruction and death caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean, notably in Haiti. The provision of emergency supplies, food, health kits, and other assistance builds on UMCOR’s sustained presence in Haiti, work that has continued since the disastrous earthquake in January 2010. More than 500 deaths in Haiti have been attributed to Hurricane Matthew, with ...

Iowa-Nigeria Partnership announcement

10/7/2016
IOWA-NIGERIA PARTNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT   After over 25 years of partnership between Nigerian United Methodists and Iowa United Methodists, the Iowa Conference Board of Global Ministries has decided it is time to step back and evaluate the partnership.  Nigerian United Methodists are planning a Roundtable Conference in 2017 which will include Nigerian United Methodists and United Methodist conferences in the United States that have been working in Nigeria; the planned Roundtable is an opportunity ...

Gathering creates conversation

Gathering creates conversation

10/5/2016
Conversation was the order of the day at the fall gathering of the Orders of Elders Click here to see more images from the Orders of Elders and Deacons and Association of Licensed Local Pastors event. Click here to see the video of Bishop Laurie's sermon and Deacons and Association of Licensed Local Pastors. Meeting at First United Methodist Church in Ames, the clergy of the Iowa Conference focused on the denomination's effort to discover "a way forward" as it addresses the unity of the church ...

Saturday flooding response update

Saturday flooding response update

9/24/2016
This flood response update message from Keith Pitts, East Central District Disaster Response Coordinator at 7 pm, Saturday... Good evening: Today we have assisted together over thirty homes and a Trinity UMC. Thank you to all the faithful servants that came from as far as DeWitt! The flood office is set up and at 1:00pm tomorrow St Pauls will be a Red Cross shelter! Thanks to Rev Sherrie Ilg for helping make this happen. Tomorrow we will have a new list to attack: Needs: 1. Prayer, prayer, ...

What YOU can do to help

What YOU can do to help

9/24/2016
There are several things that YOU can do, RIGHT NOW to help in the flood response…Rev. Catie Newman, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, has the following suggestions: Pray Make cleaning buckets and watch an UMCOR video about creating a bucket Cleaning Buckets can be delivered to any of the three IAUMC Camps Pictured Rocks, Wesley Woods or Camp Okoboji…or Contact the District Disaster Response Coordinator in your District to find the nearest Location and arrange for Drop-off. DON’T drive ...

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Team Leader Training

Volunteers in Mission (VIM) Team Leader Training

9/21/2016
Volunteers in Mission (VIM)  Team Leader Training will provide you (and your church) with all the information and tools that you will need to participate in or lead hands-on mission. Team Leader Training equips individuals to lead national and international teams to approved United Methodist project sites.  It touches on what constitutes an UMVIM team, team duties, team dynamics, cultural understanding, team spiritual formation, tips for travel and fundraising, timeline for organizing a team, ...

Bishop Trimble dismisses complaint

Bishop Trimble dismisses complaint

9/12/2016
A complaint, filed in June, by three Iowa Conference clergy against one of their fellow clergy was dismissed on August 30, 2016 by Bishop Julius C. Trimble.    His brief statement, conveyed to all parties involved, said, in part, “In accordance with Paragraph 363.e of 2012 Book of Discipline I have decided to dismiss the complaint against Rev. Anna Blaedel. The rationale was shared with the appointive cabinet.”   Rev. Craig Peters, Rev. Gary Hoyt, and Pastor Ben Blanchard filed a complaint with ...

Lansing area flood status update

Lansing area flood status update

9/5/2016
“We had some severe thunderstorms and the rain came down a little heavier than was anticipated,” says Rev. Kevin Smith, pastor of Lansing United Methodist Church, describing the flooding that affected a number of Iowans on August 22 & 23. “In Lansing, we had seven inches of rain overnight. We had a couple areas that had over eight inches of rain. And along the Upper Iowa River basin, flood waters came up so quickly that a lot of people weren’t able to get things moved to higher ground.” Listen ...

Helping with NE Iowa flooding

Helping with NE Iowa flooding

8/29/2016
On August 24, 2016 more than 8 inches of rain fell in Northeast Iowa. The Upper Iowa and Turkey Rivers have all flooded.  Causing evacuations of homes, businesses, schools and campgrounds.    The Governor of Iowa has made a Disaster Proclamation for 6 counties in Northeast Iowa.    The Hardest hit appears to be Winneshiek, Chickasaw, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette and Howard counties and many, many rural acres.   On Saturday we delivered we delivered 144 Clean-Up Buckets and other supplies to ...

Dr. Gene Hoy - State Fair veterinarian

Dr. Gene Hoy - State Fair veterinarian

8/26/2016
During the 11 days of the Iowa State Fair, visitors have a chance to see cows, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, and other animals that exemplify farm life when they drop by the Knapp Animal Learning Center. And in charge of the center is Richland UMC member and veterinarian Dr. Gene Hoy, who does everything from checking the animals’ health status to overseeing live births. “We had one a couple days ago that, right in front of everybody, laid down and had her calf with 250 people watching,” reports...

African Cultural Festival

African Cultural Festival

8/25/2016
On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm to 4pm, on the spacious and welcoming grounds of Salem United Methodist Church (3715 33rd Avenue Southwest), the people of Cedar Rapids will have an opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of multiple African cultures thanks to a partnership of local congregations and ministries, notably African Women Empowered from St. Mark’s, the Asbury International French Fellowship, and the St. Paul’s African National Ministry. Click to listen to Dr. Jill ...

Flooding in Louisiana

Flooding in Louisiana

8/25/2016
This aerial image shows flooded areas on and near the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU), Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Baton Rouge, La. (Patrick Dennis/The Advocate via AP)

'Christian Chaos' plays the Iowa State Fair

'Christian Chaos' plays the Iowa State Fair

8/24/2016
“This is our third year playing here,” says Greg Brown, founder and leader of the band Christian Chaos, following their gig at the Iowa State Fair on August 17. “We’ve put together a set list that’s really geared more towards this type of a venue than what we would do at a fundraiser or at a youth rally or something like that.” Click to listen to the Iowa Conference Conversations podcast with Greg Brown of 'Christian Chaos' The members of Christian Chaos all belong to the First United Methodist ...

Trinity Huxley 'excited' community ministry

Trinity Huxley 'excited' community ministry

8/24/2016
“They get things done. When they get the idea, they pursue it and get it taken care of,” says Pastor Rick Baarda of Trinity UMC in Huxley. He’s talking about his church’s ‘Dare To’ teams: Dare to Pray, Dare to Dream, and Dare to Act It’s an idea that his church came up with about a year and a half ago, to take the idea of a dream team to the next level – so that they could really start making those dreams come true. Daring to Make a Difference “Prayer Team really takes on the initiative of ...

Leadership Institute 2016: Early Bird Deadline and Newly Added Post Conference

8/19/2016
Leadership Institute 2016 takes place at The Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS September 29-30 (Pre-Insititute Sept 28). Early Bird Rates are available through August 31. Get your team together and register today! Newly Added Post-Institute: A special Post-Institute Session has recently been added for Pastors and Church Leaders: Friday, September 30, 2-5pm. Entitled Leading the Conversation About Race and Equality in Your Community, this special session led by F. Willis Johnson (lead ...

Conference Ctr Team helps at food pantry network

Conference Ctr Team helps at food pantry network

8/11/2016
A team of nine from the Iowa Conference Center sorted non-perishable items, checked expiration dates, and packaged items for the shelves at the Des Moines Area Religious Council Food Pantry Network warehouse this week.  The visit to DMARC’s distribution center was one of a series of mission events that Conference staff participates in each year.   Click to see the Conference Center team at work at the DMARC Food Pantry Network warehouse Some 5000 unique households, which translates to some ...

Celebrating the Trimble’s ministry

Celebrating the Trimble’s ministry

8/10/2016
Clergy and lay from across the Conference gathered at the Conference Center on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the ministry of Bishop Julius C. Trimble and First Lady Racedler Grandberry-Trimble.  The event, organized by the Episcopacy Committee and the Conference Lay Leader, created an opportunity for people to share a word of personal appreciation to the episcopal family for their eight years in Iowa and as well as offering a blessing as the Bishop and First Lady head to Indiana to lead that ...

Central District's 'Sampling Diversity'

Central District's 'Sampling Diversity'

8/10/2016
Sunday afternoon was devoted to “Sampling Diversity” on the Central District of the Iowa Conference.  Hundreds gathered at the Christian Life Center of Ankeny First UMC to sample food, view art, experience cultural dance, sing in multiple languages, talk with each other about diversity, be introduced to the new Superintendent and Field Outreach Minister, and hear the Scripture read in three languages.   Click to see photos from the event Beginning the afternoon, Rev. Paul Burrow welcomed the ...

Maggie Biggs new Conference Treasurer

Maggie Biggs new Conference Treasurer

8/10/2016
Although Maggie Biggs has been helping the Iowa Annual Conference with its finances in various ways for twenty years, on August 1 she took on her most significant role yet as the new Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services for the Conference. “It’s a privilege to serve the Conference in a new way,” says Biggs, who has an accounting degree and her CPA license. She describes herself as both excited and a little scared, given the number of responsibilities that the position entails, but ...

Permanent Partners for Nigeria

Permanent Partners for Nigeria

8/3/2016
A goal of the Iowa Nigeria Partnership is to encourage more Iowa United Methodist Congregations to become permanent partners.  A permanent partner enters into a long-term relationship with a congregation, a village or an institution in Nigeria.   Some examples of permanent partners:   Grandview UMC in Dubuque (pictured) has matched itself with the small, rural village of Damka, where they spent considerable time just getting to know each other.  The result is a new church, a well, school ...

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